Make the absolute best chicken tacos with this homemade chicken taco seasoning. Use this all-purpose blend to add spice and flavor to your favorite taco recipes. All you need is about 5 minutes and some pantry staples!
This chicken taco seasoning is made from a combination of ingredients like chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, and oregano. The blend creates a rich, smoky, and mildly spicy flavor profile that perfectly complements ground chicken tacos, or any tacos for that matter!
We love how bright red the seasoning turns out, thanks to the chili powder and paprika. It’s intended to be used as a dry rub, but you can also mix it with a small amount of liquid to marinate chicken, which can then be grilled, baked, or pan-fried.
Our favorite way to use it is to marinate chicken, then add it to homemade corn tortillas topped with fresh garnishes and creamy chipotle sauce. You can also use it on other proteins, in soups, in sauces, or even on roasted vegetables.
Why You'll Love Chicken Taco Seasoning
- Simple: All you need is common and easy-to-find spices to create a unique and flavorful seasoning. Plus, you have way more control over the taste by making it yourself.
- Customizable: Adjust the heat and flavor to your preference. Make it spicier with cayenne pepper, reduce the salt level, or add more cumin for an earthier flavor.
- Versatile: This chicken taco seasoning also works well with other proteins, like beef, pork, or even tofu. Don’t feel like you have to reserve it just for chicken!
Ingredients and Substitutions
Here is everything you need to make homemade taco seasoning for all kinds of chicken tacos.
- Chili powder: Adds a mild heat and vibrant color. Use ancho or chipotle powder for the best flavor, but regular chili powder also works well.
- Cumin: Provides earthy, warm notes. You can also use coriander or caraway seeds.
- Garlic powder: Adds depth and savoriness. Substitute garlic powder with granulated garlic in a pinch.
- Kosher salt: Enhances flavors of the blend. Leave it out for a low-sodium option, then add salt on an individual basis. You can also use sea salt or table salt.
- Paprika: Adds a sweet, smoky element. Regular paprika works, but we love smoked paprika for a more intense flavor.
- Onion powder: Provides more savoriness and a slight zest. As with garlic powder, granulated onion works if you don’t have onion powder available.
- Oregano: Adds a herbaceous touch. Try to source Mexican oregano if possible. You can also use marjoram or an Italian seasoning blend.
- Pepper: Black pepper provides a slight kick and complexity. If you don’t have black pepper on hand, use white pepper instead.
- Red pepper flakes: Increases the heat of the blend. Cayenne pepper or ground chipotle are also good options.
How to Use Chicken Taco Seasoning
As a general rule of thumb, use about 2-3 tablespoons of chicken taco seasoning for every pound of chicken (or other protein). Thoroughly rub the mixture onto the meat, ensuring it’s evenly coated. For ground meat, simply sprinkle it on the meat after it has browned.
You can use this seasoning when pan-frying, roasting, or grilling chicken. These are some of our favorite taco recipes to use this blend in:
Storing Homemade Spices
- Room temperature: Store unused seasoning in an airtight container for up to 6-12 months. Remember to keep it in a cool, dry, and dark place, like a pantry cupboard or a drawer.
- Prep ahead: Mix a double or triple batch of seasoning to keep on hand for easy use in future recipes.
Variations and Seasoning Ideas
There are so many ways to make this recipe your own. Here are some favorites:
- Spicy: Add more red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper for a spicier version.
- Sweet: Make it sweet by adding a pinch of brown sugar.
- Warmth: Try adding cinnamon and cloves to bring more warmth to the seasoning.
- Smoky: For a smoky version, add chipotle powder and smoked paprika.
- Creamy: Add the seasoning to Greek yogurt or sour cream for a flavorful taco dip.
Tips for Making Chicken Taco Seasoning
- Store it properly: Keep the seasoning in an airtight glass jar or container to keep it fresh and aromatic.
- Check the dates: Check the expiration date on each individual herb or spice for the most intense flavors in your chicken taco seasoning.
- Double the batch: Make a larger batch to save time and have it readily available for recipes during busy weeks.
- Marinate for 30 minutes: Let the chicken (or whichever protein you use) marinate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to penetrate.
- Dry rub or liquid: You can use the seasoning as a dry rub or combine it with liquid for a marinade. Either option works great!
How much seasoning should I use per pound of chicken?
Use about 2-3 tablespoons of chicken taco seasoning for each pound of chicken. Of course, these are just guidelines, and you can use more or less depending on your personal preference.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the most common questions about this recipe.
You can leave the seasoning on to marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes. However, if you leave it on for a few hours, the flavor will be more intense.
Yes, simply omit the salt and adjust the other spices to taste.
Yes, this seasoning is gluten-free, but always double-check the labels of each individual spice to ensure there are no gluten-containing additives.
Homemade Chicken Taco Seasoning
- Print Recipe
- Download PDF
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1.5 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
Like this Recipe? Try our Meal Plans!
- Weekly Meal Plans
- Easy Shopping List
- Healthy, Low Carb, & Vegetarian
- Nutritional Information
To make ground chicken tacos: Heat a splash of olive oil over medium-high heat in a skillet. Add the ground chicken and cook for 6-8 minutes, breaking it up as it cooks. Continue cooking until no longer pink. Add 2-3 tbsp of the taco seasoning to the skillet. If you like, add 1-2 tbsp of tomato paste as well. Turn heat down to medium-low and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Serve in the warmed tortillas with all your favorite toppings.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
Adjust the spice level to your tastes by changing the amount of red pepper flakes in the recipe.
Get delicious, healthy recipes delivered each week right to your inbox.
Snap a picture and show us what you made on Instagram or Facebook.
Tag us using @SlenderKitchen or #slenderkitchen.